“How am I going to scan all this stuff and add keywords to it all in a timely manner?”
First of all, you should cull through to see what is worth adding to the DAM and decide what may have value to your organization. Some of the material may not. That is up to your organization to decide upfront on a high level, but consider your organization’s legacy as well as its future with some forethought.
Once you have narrowed down your focus to what is worth scanning into digital form and keywording, you’ll need to decide how and who will do this.
If you may have paper, negatives, transparencies (aka slides) and/or prints you need scanned. You have a few choices for who can do this:
- Hire/assign people to scan part/full time at a workstation.
- Outsource it to an outside vendor.
What about the metadata and keywording?
- Hire/assign people to collect specific information about the assets and turn that information into metadata within your metadata schema.
- Outsource the metadata/keywording task to an outside vendor.
If it is a matter of security or needing institutional knowledge to do this, the simple answer is the first option. Nothing can replace your institutional knowledge unless it is fully documented (which is rarely the case). If this work requires accumulating information about the assets, use these resources to your benefit while they are still around. If it is a matter security or sensitive information, you are should probably keep it all in house.
If it is a matter of low cost, high volume and speed, the simple answer is the second option. These vendors specialize in low cost, high volume and sometimes high speed operations for these services. Usually, they are faster and cheaper than what most organizations are set up to do themselves in house. They will obviously not know much about your organization, what is important to you nor your workflows compared to your internal resources, so results will vary.
If you decide to use vendors who specialize in metadata, keywording or scanning, they will ask a few questions for some guidance on what you are looking for. They will handle the rest once they get the material from your organization. It is possible you may need both internal as well as external resources to handle all the keywording, metadata and scanning tasks.
Where do you find these types of service vendors? Try Googling keywording or photo scanning or document scanning for a few of these service vendors. I am not going to recommend specific vendors, but if you want to know how to pick the right vendor for these services, here is some criteria to judge them by:
- Test with a true sampling of your various assets (a small test is sometimes free)
- Consistent Quality (do they deliver good quality results all the time?)
- Turnaround time (how much can they handle within a reasonable time frame?)
- Staffing (do they have enough people to handle your volume?)
- Reputation (There are some reviews available on the scanning vendors)
- Cost (they may charge per job, per hour and/or per asset)
The reason I listed cost as the last criteria is simply because what the vendor charges is not always directly related to the results they will yield. What you get will vary between vendors. It is up to you to judge which results suit your organization’s needs the best. Pick a few to test and choose wisely.